Duke Ellington’s America

book cover


  1. 7 April 2011 11.00 and 14.00

    “Duke Ellington on Film” at the British Film Institute’s Southbank venue

    Harvey G. Cohen will be hosting two events, a lecture and a screening, based on the film related portions of Duke Ellington’s America. Quoting from the April 2011 edition of the BFI Guide, Cohen’s 11:00 lecture will focus on how “Duke Ellington was portrayed more respectfully and appeared more often in US films than any other black artist of the period…see how this giant of African-American culture created a positive public image for his community, through his music, performance and, of course, his films.” Several short Ellington starring films from the 1930s will be screened as part of the lecture. Cohen will also introduce a special screening of director Otto Preminger’s Anatomy Of A Murder (1959) at 14.00; Ellington had a role in the film, and his score for the film won a Grammy Award.

  2. 24 November 2010 18.00

    “Duke Ellington In His Own Words” at the International Centre for Sport History and Culture (ICSHC), Leicester City Campus, 3.06 Clephan Building, De Montfort University, Leicester LE1 9BH

    As part of DMU’s History Research Seminar Series, Cohen will give an hour long lecture featuring about 15 minutes of rare Ellington interview tapes, and cover most of the major themes in Duke Ellington’s America.

  3. Saturday 20 November 2010 18:00

    “Harvey Cohen”s Ellington’ in the Front Room at the Southbank Centre, part of the London Jazz Festival

    Cohen will be speaking about Duke Ellington’s America in an hour long event concentrating especially on Billy Strayhorn, Ellington’s close friend and writing partner, who will be the focus of a concert later that evening by the Frank Griffith Nonet with China Moses and Alexander Stewart.

    This is the third time Cohen has appeared at the London Jazz Festival.

  4. 10 November 2010

    “Duke Ellington in His Own Words” at UCLA

    Cohen will be offering a multi-media presentation at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). The event is hosted by jazz guitar legend Kenny Burrell, director of Jazz Studies and Professor of Ethnomusicology at UCLA. The talk will feature several rare audio clips of Ellington interviews and performances that Cohen gathered while researching his book. Admission is free; the event will be held in 1439 Schoenberg Hall on the UCLA campus.

  5. Wednesday 27 October 2010 19.00

    “Duke Ellington’s America” book launch event as part of Inside Out festival at the Music Hall, Guildhall School of Music & Drama, Barbican, Silk Street, London EC2Y 8DT featuring an interview session with Harvey G. Cohen conducted by Martin Hathaway, conductor and leader of the Guildhall Jazz Orchestra, who will play a concert of Ellington music following the interview.

    Copies of Duke Ellington’s America will be for sale.

    The Inside Out Festival is organised by LCACE as part of their Inside Out Festival, and is sponsored by the Arts & Humanities Research Council.

  6. Friday 3 September 2010, 14.00, Resonance FM

    Harvey G. Cohen will be discussing his Duke Ellington’s live on Carole Chant’s Sound Out programme on Resonance FM Radio 104.4. Cohen will be choosing a selection of music for the broadcast, including one of Ellington’s mid-1950s collaborations with gospel legend Mahalia Jackson from Black Brown, and Beige, Ellington’s programmatic portrait of African American history. The song, Come Sunday, according to Cohen, “is one of the best tracks Ellington ever committed to tape, an extended, emotionally moving performance that saw several musicians in the band play with tears in their eyes in the recording studio.”

  7. Friday 20 August 2010

    Cohen will be interviewed about his book on Metro Connection, a program broadcast on National Public Radio’s affiliate in Washington, D.C., WAMU-FM.

  8. Sunday 8 August 2010, KAZI-FM Austin, TX

    Cohen discusses his book for 30 minutes on Austin, Texas radio station KAZI’s Book Review programme, hosted by Hopeton Lewis.

  9. Sunday 18 July 2010 KDVS-Davis, CA

    A 40 minute interview with Cohen on New Day Jazz, a weekly jazz radio show on KDVS, a college radio station at the University of California at Davis. The programme features over an hour of surprising Ellington music chosen by host Justin Desmangles. Listen to the podcast.

  10. Wednesday 14 July 2010, WNYC-FM

    Interview with Cohen about the book on the Soundcheck show on New York City’s flagship national public radio station, WNYC-FM

  11. Tuesday 13 July 2010 at 13.30 and Saturday 17 July at 15.30, BBC Radio 4

    Cohen will be a guest commentator on the BBC Radio 4 documentary Jazz in the Open Air, chronicling the history of famous jazz shows played outdoors, including Duke Ellington’s legendary 1956 appearance at the Newport Jazz Festival. The programme is hosted by Kevin LeGendre.

  12. Monday 5 July 2010 18.30

    “Duke Ellington’s America” official book launch at the Hospital Club, 24 Endell St, London WC2H 9HQ

    The London private club that specialises in a clientele from the cultural and creative industries is hosting this event in their Games Room. Guest list is limited to 40 non-members. If you’re interested in attending, please RSVP to . There will be alcohol involved, a short presentation by Harvey G. Cohen, and probably some copies of “Duke Ellington”s America” for sale.

  13. Sunday 4 July 2010 11.00 BBC Radio London

    Harvey G. Cohen guests on “The Lesley Joseph Show” to talk about “Duke Ellington’s America”.

    (Purposely) coinciding with American Independence Day, there will probably be a strong dose of American culture in this show.

    Available to listen to for a week after broadcast

  14. Thursday 17 June 2010, 18.00

    “Duke Ellington’s America” at the Barbican Cinema 3, London EC2Y 8DS

    This free event focussing on Cohen’s new book “Duke Ellington’s America”features a lively discussion between Harvey G. Cohen and Alyn Shipton, award winning author and broadcaster, jazz critic for the Times and presenter/producer of Jazz Library for BBC Radio 3.

    Part of Wynton Marsalis’ and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra’s residency at the Barbican. Tickets are free, and should be reserved in advance, although walk-ins will be welcome.

  15. Saturday 5 June 2010, 16.00

    “Jazz Library” on BBC Radio 3 (one hour broadcast)

    Harvey G. Cohen traces Ellington’s finest output from the decade starting in 1928, guiding Alyn Shipton through jungle music, the first extended works and the finest Ducal small groups, as well as offering insights from his recent book“Duke Ellington’s America”.

    Will be available to listen to for 7 days after broadcast.

  16. 17 May 2010, Nightwaves

    Cohen discusses Duke Ellington’s America with a panel including musician/journalist Kevin LeGendre and novelist John Harvey. Host Philip Dodd’s focus is on Ellington’s connection to modernism, asking how Ellington fits within the movement’s tendency to champion the cultural contributions of people of colour, women and immigrants. Ellington’s efforts to break down cultural boundaries, especially his successful moves to make popular music and African American music viewed as serious and lasting culture in the 1930s, can be seen to chime with this.

  17. Saturday 8 May 2010, 13.00–14.00

    The Duke Ellington Society UK Annual General Meeting, Barbican, London EC2Y 8DS

    £5 admission for non-members

    Harvey G. Cohen, the featured speaker at this event, will be interviewed by Duke Ellington Society UK Chairman, Peter Caswell. Admission includes a concert of Ellington music performed by the 16 piece Guildhall Jazz Orchestra. Advance copies of the book will also be for sale on site.

  18. Sunday 2 May 2010, 10:45–11:45

    Playhouse Theatre, Cheltenham

    £6 admission

    Discussion with Alyn Shypton (as above) as part of the Cheltenham Jazz Festival programme. Advance copies of the book will be available for sale on site.

  19. Monday 26 April 2010, 19.00–20.00

    Safra Lecture Theatre, King’s College London, Strand, London WC2R 2LS

    This free event will feature a lively discussion between Dr. Harvey G. Cohen and Alyn Shipton, an award winning author and broadcaster, who is the jazz critic for The Times in London, and the presenter/producer of Jazz Library for BBC Radio 3. To illustrate some of the themes of Duke Ellington‘s America, rare excerpts of Ellington interviews and concerts form 1943–1972 will be played during the event. This event will be duplicated at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival a few days later, and is part of King’s College London’s sponsorship of the festival. Reception and refreshments will follow. Advance copies of the book will also be for sale on site.